The Big Lap - Marble Bar, Coppins Gap, Coongan Pool



Marble Bar is known as the hottest town in Australia.  Thankfully when we were there it was just the right warm temperature and even a bit chilly in the mornings.  We had to travel 200k’s inland from Port Hedland but don’t let that deter you.  It is well worth the trip and we highly recommend it.

The Caravan Park here is well priced at only $22pn for an unpowered site and the hosts are the nicest that we have experienced in all of our Caravan Park stays. 

It’s an interesting fact that Marble Bar was named after a local deposit of minerals that was thought to be marble at the time, but later turned out to be jasper.  We saw this jasper and were totally gobsmacked!  More about that later.

Marble Bar also had gold which was discovered in 1891.  However, most of the miners soon moved on south for bigger discoveries. 



You cannot stay at Marble Bar and not visit the Iron Clad Hotel.  This pub in the main street is quirky and provides large pub grub.  There are signs everywhere saying you cannot use your phone at the bar and this is strictly enforced.  Reason being is that they want to maintain the good old-fashioned chitchat at the bar that people have forgotten how to do these days because of mobile phones.  Great idea I say 😊

We shared good old pub grub, fish & chips which was made to perfection and we were both satisfied on the 1 meal order.

Marble Bar General Store



We have seen this in most YouTube videos so we had to make one as well.   In the video below I said hottest town in WA but it is actually the hottest in Australia.  Driving up to the tank is a bit hair-raising, especially the last 50 metres or so as it is extremely steep.  We could see our van in the park below.



Located just out of town, these are where the large Jasper deposits are.  There’s not much at Chinamans Pool but Marble Bar Pool next to it is so picturesque and a pleasant place to cool off in the mid-afternoon heat. 

We had heard and seen on the videos people splashing water on the jasper rocks to bring out the colour.  WoW!!  They were right!  A truly amazing sight.  I now have a new respect for this gorgeous stone.  

Of course it is illegal to cut and take away any stone here, however Marble Bar has provided a site that you can do it at just up the road a bit called the Old Comet Mine, so we ventured up there and got our rocks.

My take-away Jasper :)



We also went into Coppins Gap as the videos on YouTube showcase this place as well.  Unlike Coongan Pool, Coppins Gap was not only as nice as the videos portrayed, but even better we thought. 

It is quite a way off the highway though and not signposted.  This is how you get there.  Coming from Marble Bar and just before the road pass through the gorge, there is a road off to your right sign posted Bamboo Creek Road and there is a blue Mine Site sign there. 

 Take this road and travel 15.5k’s to a T-intersection, hang a right and travel 12.5k’s to the left-hand turn off to Coppins Gap.  Until you get to the Coppins Gap turn-off, the road is quite good and wide as it is regularly graded for the road trains.  However the track into Coppins Gap is not so good and especially the last kilometre.  You could get a caravan in here but you would have to go very slow for the last bit.  I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Walking down to the billabong is easy and only about 20 metres.  It’s so quiet and peaceful with colourful rocks either side.  A truly amazing place.



We had seen a few YouTube videos on this place and were planning to stay the night, so we drove out on a day trip to check it out.  Luckily we dodged a bullet as we soon realised that the YouTube videos would have shown it at it’s best in June/July when there was plenty of water with shady places to park alongside the creek.  Now in September there was hardly any water and the rest was as dry as a bone and not at all as pretty as the videos showed.  

So thankfully we were able to stay the extra night back in Marble Bar.  And a big thank you to the hosts in Marble Bar Caravan Park that said don’t worry if you get back after 10am and if you do decide to stay another night, it’s ok, just pay us later.  You don’t get that lovely hospitality at all accommodation.



As you can see, a trip out to Marble Bar was well worth the detour.  On the way there and back we broke up the journey at Des Streckfuss Free Camp site for a cuppa and nice view.  

Also pictured below is the pass through Deelena Gorge which was pretty spectacular - see video above.  The video is taken heading west through the gorge from Marble Bar and towards Port Hedland.  At the end of the video you will see the dirt track to the left heading into Coongan Pool. 

We had hit the highway at the Marble Bar turnoff and heading north towards our free camp stop for the night at De Grey River, we could see a huge fire front heading south.  More on that in the next page - De Grey River.




No comments: